Account of Flying with Firearms

Deviant Ollam
An easy trip to Florida for work... my laptop actually didn't alarm in Philly!
PHL --> IAD --> MCO

MCO --> IAD --> PHL

Luggage & Gear
On this work trip to Florida, I had lots of training equipment. My main large Pelican case had my clothes and laptop, along with my Walther PPS. Abloy PL330 padlocks were on the outside. Two smaller black Pelican Storm cases held all the training gear, plus some other pistols (an M9 and an older 1911) with Abloy PL321s.


Outbound Travel
A fellow from Prime Flight started to check me in, but then he called Tess Byrne and Annette M from United to process the firearms. As they handled the forms, Steven Tobin from United chatted with me about the pistols and we bonded briefly over the topic of shooting. With the bags tagged and locked, Steven took them back. Five minutes later he came back out and shockingly they had all cleared... even the larger Peli case with my laptop, whih ALWAYS alarms.

All luggage arrived in Orlando on time and without incident.


Homebound Travel
On the way home from Florida, Alyissa started to check me in. She was from Prospect services (who is apparently the 3rd party contractor that United uses for some staffing at the Orlando airport.) My bags were on the scales for about two mintes as we had to "wait for Jennifer to be by in a second" according to Alyissa. As was the case, a full United employee had to check in the firearms. Jen arrived in 3 minutes, spent a moment fixing a broken kiosk terminal, and then within 2 minutes I had a signed declaration card and was at the oversize TSA screening area. I snapped a fun photo of the large "pusher stick" that the screeners there were using to help insert luggage.

My laptop set off the CTX unit, and I was asked to unlock the luggage, with the instruction that I "only touch the locks." The screeners took a lot out of my case, but seemed to repack it all rather OK. I was done in about 3 or 4 minutes and off to passenger screening and then the gate.

All luggage arrived in Philly without difficulty.


Final Details & Thoughts
The most annoying part of the journey was passing through IAD, as usual. ;-)


Air Travel Ratings
If you don't have the time or the desire to read the full text of someone's account of air travel, you can simply refer to the rating shown at the conclusion of each portion of that person's journey. The following criteria are used in assigning these ratings...

Four Stars

check-in - no hassle, no delay
screening - in full view, lock and unlock yourself
luggage - all on time and intact

Three Stars
check-in - some delay or mild hassle
screening - somewhat obscured, locking and unlocking yourself or it's done directly in front of you
luggage - all on time and intact

Two Stars
check-in - major delay or major hassle
screening - in a room or area that you could not enter and could barely observe
luggage - luggage opened non-destructively

One Star
check-in - flight missed or passenger delayed from flying, properly packed items denied as luggage
screening - luggage unlocked and opened totally in another area fully removed from you
luggage - destructive entry into luggage and/or tampering with firearms

Zero Stars
This is a special category for outright theft, loss, or damage of firearms during air travel
half-star results are possible... naturally, they involve partial or mitigated problems that somehow fall in-between the above categories